Skip to main content

Defending The Robber Barons

February 2024
1min read

The “Business of America” column about the passion of Henry Clay Frick (April) had an interesting ending, but I almost didn’t get that far. The first part of John Steele Gordon’s article was directed toward explaining how the robber barons of yesterday were undeserving of the title. His primary objective seems to have been to serve as apologist for the ultra-wealthy. The workers opposing Frick and others were desperately righting for nothing more than a fair share. They worked under dangerous conditions, were paid little, and lived in squalor. There was no justification for the actions of the owners. And I am not much impressed or inspired by the benevolent gifts of philanthropists who have the sweat and (literally) blood of workers on their hands. A little care on the part of top management for their workers’ children would have been more meaningful.

We hope you enjoy our work.

Please support this 72-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate